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Friday, May 7, 2021

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Positive Career Results for Recent Grads

SDSU Career Services' latest survey of fall 2010 graduates shows improvement in the job market.
By Sharon Penny

Each semester, SDSU Career Services conducts an outcomes survey of graduates each semester. In 2009 and 2010, data collected showed the impact of limited job growth for SDSU graduates in terms of reduced response rates to surveys, reported salary declines and prolonged job searches.

“The news reminds us daily of challenges to the economy, and especially job growth,” said SDSU Career Services Director James Tarbox. “Many of us wonder how these challenges impact San Diego State University graduates, and how competitive they will be as they enter into the current job market.”

Tarbox recently released data from fall 2010 graduates, and reported better news.
“In the midst of these challenges, we are starting to see gains in employers working with our center, and on the student side, an increase in response rates to our outcomes survey by December 2010 graduates,” he said.

I’m cautiously optimistic for the near future, as I see more employers indicating that they will be hiring.

Vice President for Student Affairs James R. Kitchen noted that Career Services is on top of employment trends before wider audiences understand them.

“James Tarbox’s team in Career Services works in tandem with local, national and international employers,” Kitchen said. “Not only does that help their team stay abreast of economic trends, but they have their finger on the pulse of the future needs of employers.”

Salary survey results

Almost 36 percent of December 2010 graduating students responded to the survey, which was significantly higher than the 16 percent of spring/summer 2010 graduates.  In the survey, students indicated their post-graduation plans:

  • 47 percent had full-time employment lined up
  • 23 percent were actively seeking employment
  • 9.5 percent were going to graduate school full-time
  • 3.3 percent indicated military service, volunteering or starting a family
  • The balance indicated various “other” plans

Respondents reported an overall average salary of $42,433. Those who majored in computer science had the highest starting salary: $75,000, whereas communication majors (public relations) reported the lowest at $25,000.

Advice for their peers

The survey asked last year’s graduating students for advice to pass on to this year’s students. Overwhelmingly, these students said internships, networking and starting the employment search early were key to successfully finding relevant jobs. Other factors included:

  • Using Aztec Career Connection
  • Attending career fairs
  • Earning a degree
  • Working with professors and advisors
  • Developing strong resumes and interviewing skills

Participating in an internship made a huge difference for students. More than 42 percent of the respondents participated in an internship, and of those, 36 percent were offered full-time employment upon graduation.

According to Student Affairs Associate Vice President Eric Rivera, Tarbox should be credited for creating academic relationships across campus that have increased internships.

“Over the past few years, Career Services has been working strategically with each of the colleges to create and promote more internships,” Rivera said. “This has been a great benefit to both students and the academic side of the university, who see a real value in what Career Services provides.”

Cautiously optimistic

“I’m cautiously optimistic for the near future, as I see more employers indicating that they will be hiring,” Tarbox said. “I would encourage all students seeking employment to utilize our services, as the surveys continuously indicate that working with Career Services greatly improves the chances for students to find the right jobs.”

Tarbox said that all students, not just graduating seniors, should utilize Career Services on a regular basis to help plan their academic pathways to align with their career goals.

Click here to view a PDF of the summary of survey results from SDSU December 2010 graduates.